United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING ENTRY OF JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF
DEFENDANT NANCY BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
SECURITY AND AGAINST PLAINTIFF NORMA IRENE DELGADO
S. AUSTIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Norma Irene Delgado (“Plaintiff”), seeks judicial
review of a final decision by the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner” or
“Defendant”) denying her application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”) pursuant to
Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently
before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were
submitted without oral argument to the Honorable Gary S.
Austin, United States Magistrate Judge. A review of the
briefs and the administrative record reveals that the
ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence.
Therefore, Plaintiff's appeal is DENIED.
BACKGROUND AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
parties agree that the Plaintiff properly exhausted her
administrative remedies and that the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's appeal. Therefore, this appeal is a review of
a decision issued by Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Regina L. Sleater on October 23, 2014,
which is considered the Commissioner's final order.
See, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). AR
sole issue on appeal is whether the ALJ committed reversible
error by failing to consider Listing Impairment 12.05C at
step three of the disability determination process. Plaintiff
argues that the ALJ was required to address this listing
impairment because her IQ score is between 60 and 70, she
suffers from other severe impairments not related to
intellectual disability including depression and a
personality disorder, and she suffers from deficits in
adaptive functioning. She contends that the ALJ should have
addressed this listing in the decision, and her failure to do
so requires that the case be remanded so that the appropriate
findings can be made. (Doc. 16, pgs. 4-13; Doc. Doc. 18, pgs.
2-9). The Commissioner argues that the ALJ's decision is
supported by substantial evidence because Plaintiff did not
raise this issue at the hearing before the ALJ, Plaintiff
does not meet all of the criteria for the listing, and the
ALJ adequately addressed Plaintiff's mental limitations
in the decision. (Doc. 17, pgs. 5-9).
THE DISABILITY DETERMINATION PROCESS
qualify for benefits under the Social Security Act, a
plaintiff must establish that he or she is unable to engage
in substantial gainful activity due to a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or
can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less
than twelve months. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A). An
individual shall be considered to have a disability only if:
. . . his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of
such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous
work, but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy, regardless of
whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.
42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B).
achieve uniformity in the decision-making process, the
Commissioner has established a sequential five-step process
for evaluating a claimant's alleged disability. 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.920(a). The ALJ proceeds through the steps and
stops upon reaching a dispositive finding that the claimant
is or is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920 (a)(4). The
ALJ must consider objective medical evidence and opinion
testimony. 20 C.F.R. § 416.913.
the ALJ is required to determine: (1) whether a claimant
engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period of
alleged disability; (2) whether the claimant had
medically-determinable “severe” impairments; (3)
whether these impairments meet or are medically equivalent to
one of the listed impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. §
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (4) whether the claimant retained
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant
had the ability to perform other jobs existing in significant
numbers at the regional and national level. 20 C.F.R. §
the Social Security Administration's five-step sequential
evaluation process, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not
meet the disability standard. AR 17-31. In particular, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since July 21, 2012, the alleged amended
disability onset date. AR 23. Further, the ALJ identified
obesity, status post hernia surgery with small intestine
resection of ten centimeters, low back pain, borderline
intellectual function, and depression as severe ...